Monday, August 16

Italy in Spirit

As I sit here listening to Andrea Bocelli  and reflect on the last 3 days, I can't help but smile. A big smile, the kind that hurts your cheeks and make you feel good all over. The kind that makes you feel like your organs are smiling.  That kind of smile.
I have had a blissful weekend off. I have had a wonderful 3 days with friends and food; I am a little sad it is now over. How do laundry days feel like 10 years, but girls weekends feel like 20 minutes?

Friday our weekend began with the usual accident. I am sure most peoples weekends do not start with an accident, but any exciting weekend of our family does. After Drew got home from work early and fixed up Ethan`s gash (I am so lucky to have a paramedic for a husband) they gathered their things and left on their camping trip. The second they got into the truck and I watched them drive off full of kisses and goodbyes and "have so much fun mom" "we will see you later". I just sat and exhaled deeply. 

I love them (my family) so much, they are so much work. It was nice to just breath, relax and chat a little with my two friends that were spending the weekend with me. 
We finished getting ourselves ready and headed into West Edmonton Mall. 
No weekend would be complete without a little shopping; after the mall we went to a different store in the city, and I believe that is where our true weekend began. 

I am in need of a purse, a nice purse. I have an okay one that I have been using that I picked up for $2 at a consignment store in BC, it has a long strap so it can be worn across my body (mandatory for holding hands, carrying toys, books and snacks everywhere, stopping Nora from darting onto the road and so forth) but it is a little too big. It throws me off balance and I feel like I am at physio when PG hangs 30 pounds from my ankle. Only now its from my shoulder and it throws me off balance. I need a purse that is worn across my body but does not feel like I am carrying a tank. So the search was on.  We looked through a lot of purses, and all of them seemed to be missing something. Colour was wrong, strap was not long enough, strap was too long, no zipper, too many zippers.  It was going nowhere, until I came across a burnt orange purse and it seemed perfect. It sang to me. 

I threw it into our cart to spend some time with it, to bond with it, pet it (because it's real leather), to make sure we got along well. I wore it around the store and would look at myself whenever a mirror was available. The more time we spent together, the more I really liked it. I asked my friends what they thought and they kindly and lovingly told me it was beautiful and that my currant bag was... hmmm, what did they say again, Ooh ya "J, that old bag is awful and crap."  So with that, my decision was made. 

While we were waiting in line to pay, I was petting and smelling my bag and I noticed my bag had been made in Italy.  Beautiful Italy and we started talking about the book that we are all reading, Eat, Pray, Love. Where each of us was in the book and how excited we all were for a ladies night to go see it. 
Then Mel suggested "why don`t we all try and find something from Italy this weekend?"  And without realizing it, our Italian weekend began.  Off we went to Italy in spirit.

We were starving by now and we went to Red Lobster for dinner, hardly Italian (well actually it kinda is with all the seafood) and we had a wonderful meal. Partway through I had to go wash my hands because I had just finished shelling crab legs, and who did I run into on the way to the loo, my (half) sister Tella.  Crazy, she had been working that night and I had not seen her for a while. She is so beautiful and sweet. She came over and visited and we giggled a bit. She met Mel & Michelle and caught up. She told me about her boyfriend and asked about the kids. It made me so happy to see her. Tella and I did not grow up together, she is quite a bit younger then me, but even still, we really get along well. I love listening to her laugh, and I remember being her age. It was such a fun time. She had to go check her tables, I told her I loved her, we said goodbye and she left. 

We finished our meal and I started receiving a few texts from my clients who hired me to help them with their upcoming delivery. The mom was uncomfortable, but just saying hi.

After dinner we headed back to my house and we watched a movie. I wanted to go  to bed early in case my clients happened to go into labour (they were a week overdue by now). But having two other very giggly friends with me, not to mention it was our weekend off, 2 am was the best I could manage and I think it was pretty good all things considered.


Saturday morning we got ready and it was so calm, so peaceful. We drove into Edmonton. Our destination was a small bakery called Dutchess Bake Shop that Drew and I had found with the children a while ago, I wanted Mel & Michelle there because it is truly amazing. Quaint, beautiful and the treats there are life changing.
When we got there an Artist was outside of the gallery next door painting whilst being serenaded by a drummer and a guitar player AND THEY WERE SINGING ITALIAN SONGS TO US ALL. 
I was truly in heaven. How could an artist NOT be inspired to create in such a dreamlike setting? 

We sat  outside in the warm (not hot) sun and shared our croissants with turkey, pesto and fresh mozzarella, and fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and spinach.  Drinking water with fresh lemon and lime and finishing it with a Paris Breast (sounds dirty) but its a hazel nut cream filled pastry that will literally make you well up with emotion and spew out tears. After you gather your composure, it forcefully demands that you lick your plate. Which is alright because you already look a fool for sobbing without reason. Very bossy, but ooh so worth it!

When we finished the very emotional brunch off we were to go explore Jasper Ave. And that's also the time my texts began Saturday from my clients. 

We wandered all day. Going into beautiful stores just to look and try on things you would never ever try on. Things you could never afford, so all you could do was try them on. But it was so much fun. We went to a flower shop that was breathtaking. We went into art galleries, furniture stores. And not just regular furniture stores. The one we went into had a couch for $22,000, and a bed for $35,000. 
And we laid and sat on them both. I have never seen furniture like that ever. 

I am not sure what was more amazing this day, the fact that we were all feeling so tranquil, and surreal, with everything we saw and did, or if that everyone we encountered (sales ladies) were all so unbelievably kind and understanding that we were just there for the experience, never being rude or pushy. 

We ended this part of the day at a Gelato store. Now for anyone who has not had Gelato yet, I beg of you to stop reading this right now and go take your children and experience this divine gift immediately. 

Much much better than ice cream. Almost as good as sex, a very close second! ya that's right, I just said that. And I am not joking either. 

We were still unsure where we would end up for dinner, but had a few hours to kill in between. SO we headed off to go see the fringe. 
Sadly I have nothing to report regarding the fringe festival because I have a huge fear for germs, scary people, smelly people, half naked people, half naked people pushing strollers with little babies in them while smoking pot. 

I know I am so judgmental, and I actually do feel bad, but I had been feeling so Zen all day, it scared me and I did not want to lose my happy mood. We turned around and decided we were ready to eat.
By now it had been almost an hour since our Gelato stop and, obviously, we were starving.

Good thing too, because as we sat down to eat, my clients texted me saying they were at the hospital and had been admitted.
I do not know much, but I have learned this, a baby will always come when it is extremely convenient for me. True story, I cross my heart, It sounds ridiculous but I swear. My clients babies only ever come when I can devote 100% of my attention to their mom, and with my own family being away, not needing to worry about a sitter, or Drew's work, this was going to be a perfect time!

We found a little hole in the wall Italian place by total accident and it was fantastic. It is called Fiore Cantina Italiana. 
We ordered this, 

and this,

and this, 

and then I had this.

We laughed, and laughed and laughed some more. After dinner my friends drove me to the hospital. 
I will not talk much about the birth of this little girl, although the parents have given me permission. Births are very special to me. I will never stop being overwhelmed with gratitude and thanksgiving for having the opportunity to witness this blessed event over and over. This mom was a super hero. She went from 3cm to 10cm in under a hour. Amazing! A new little girl has arrived. And two parents were made. And I got to see it all. Every glorious moment of it.

It was the completely perfect ending to a completely perfect day. I am often saddened for the busy world outside after I participate in a birth. Because no one knows what just occurred, everyone is so busy with whatever to notice that a new hope for this earth has just arrived. 

When it was all over, and mom was resting, baby was cared for and Dad could no longer keep his eyes open, I said goodbye. I reminded them that Joelle was a wonderful name choice for their new girl...still has never worked...but I always try. 
My two very dear, and very tired friends picked me up from the hospital. Anxious to see how things went. 

We marveled at life the entire drive home (having 15 children between the 3 of us) Me- 4, Mel- 5, Mich- 6
and when we got home in the wee hours of the morning we went right to bed. 


I am grateful for this life of mine. It is a beautiful life I have. Sometimes messy, and often mundane, but then every once in a while I get these snapshots of perfect happiness, peace and true joy. It makes it all worth it.

I am grateful for my wonderful children who excitedly charged straight at me when I arrived home, all having different stories to (y)tell at me at the same time about the fun things they did while camping with dad.  And for a husband who excitedly and attentively listed to everything I had to tell him and oo'd and awe'd appropriately about the things I bought on my weekend. 

I am grateful for you both. For all the laughs.  I maybe pee'd a little in your car - your fault . So when is the next weekend going to be? ;)

This is me having a relationship with my pizza.



Leah M said...

Such a Heavenly weekend!! Yeah for you!!
I'm going to see the movie tonight, just finished the book. Makes me very grateful for my life, and reminds me to stop and smell the basil.
Keep the stories coming Joelle, I'm loving your blog!!

Amber Goodale said...

Your stories are awesome!! And the perfect distracton for my sleepless nights!!! I wish I could book mark all of my favorutes! Alas, I only have a cell phone to read them on! But still! As I said before, I totally think the happiness that emanates from your blog is working wonders for my condition! I hope I'm not creeping you out!!! I just really needed happy, and its so wonderful to read all your happy stora! I serously hope to persue some of your adventures later, especially this one, your spirit of Italy! It sounds amazing! I too love food, and I can't wait to get my appetite back! <3 I swear you've saved me from my emotions and worries this week! <3